WHEELING, WV, March 12, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- On September 27, 2012, Murray Energy Company agreed to pay nearly $1 Million in fines to end an investigation by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration ("MSHA") into a 2007 disaster at its Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah which resulted in the deaths of eight miners and one MSHA inspector and injuries to three other miners. MSHA's investigation into the disaster revealed a "grossly deficient mine design" resulting in twenty MSHA violation citations and penalties totally $1,639,351. Under the terms of the MSHA settlement, Murray Energy accepted four citations for contributing to the cause of the disaster and three additional citations for "flagrant" safety violations in exchange for reducing the penalties it faced.
Shockingly, Murray Energy maintains in a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune that it entered into the settlement "solely to avoid causing all of the witnesses and the community to live through the ordeal of dredging up these past memories" and that it would have introduced evidence at the hearing demonstrating that the admitted violations did not contribute to the 2007 disaster. Murray Energy's statements are indicative of the coal industry's refusal to accept responsibility for endangering the lives of its workers. In addition to the MSHA fines, Murray Energy paid a $500,000 criminal fine for willfully violating federal mine-safety law and undisclosed amounts to settle wrongful death claims arising from the 2007 Cradall Canyon disaster.
Murray Energy's failure to accept responsibility for the deadly implosions has angered the victims' loved ones and rightfully so. The facts demonstrate that the Crandall Canyon disaster was caused by unsafe mining practices. Three days before the initial implosion, Murray Energy was mining a barrier pillar that MSHA had previously prohibited from being mined when a coal burst occurred. Murray Energy failed to revise its roof control plan at that time. Three days later, on August 6, 2007, six victims were trapped when the mine's walls imploded near where the barrier pillar had be improperly mined. A second implosion occurred ten days later during rescue efforts killing an additional three people and injuring three others.
The disaster at Crandall Canyon Mine preceded the disaster at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch Mine by nearly three years and yet Upper Big Branch still occurred. The investigation into Upper Big Branch reaffirmed the continuing corporate culture of the coal industry is profits over people. The coal industry provides jobs and access to valuable energy resources. However, society should not allow these benefits to outweigh the value of a human life. Murray Energy's failure to acknowledge responsibility for its actions demonstrates that the current MSHA fine system is seen simply as a cost of doing business in the coal industry. Until the coal industry understands that it will be held accountable for unsafe mining practices regardless of whether injury or death results, coal mining companies will not take responsibility for their actions.
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website at www.bordaslaw.com---
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